6 days in Sicily-09/24 - 09/29/2017

Catania-Day 6- 09/29/2017

Historical site Monastery Saint Benedetto

The Monastery of Saint Benedict, situated in via Crociferi is considered part of the human heritage of Unesco and is one of the artistic symbols of Catania.  It is commonly identifiable by the 18th century arch which spreads over the street and unites the Monastery’s main abbey (Badia Maggiore, on the right) to the Small Abbey (Badia Minor, on the left). The small abbey is today home to MacS the Museum of Contemporary Art of Sicily.  Today we are only visiting the main abbey on the right with the Monastery and the church of Saint Benedetto.

The reconstruction at the end of the 17th century determined the incorporation of the actual small abbey, through the construction of the archway in 1704 by the Benedictines. As time went by, the Arch way became the symbol of the city as well as the entrance gate to the entire street.


According to legend, the arch way was built in one night to defy a city ordnance against its construction on the grounds that it was a seismic liability.


The entrance is an archaeological ruins of a Roman house, “Domus Romana”, have been found there and they represent the starting point of the tour.

The Monastery

This is the 17th century parlor which is a place of seclusion where the nuns and their relatives meet and talk. This monastery was the setting of the film “Storia di una capinera” by Franco Zeffirelli, based on Giovanni Verga’s novel with the same title.

The main entry of the Monastery, which was initially erected in 1350 and then built back again on its original ruins after the earthquake 1693.

Nowadays the Monastery is inhabited by a large monastic community of nuns, devoted to the perpetual adoration to the Holy Sacrament and respecting their monastic vows of seclusion, even though they are opened to the outside world.

Everything is decorated to the bare minimum, simple, and functional.

The floor is also simple with terra cotta tiles and cement vs. marble and granite in the church.


A large painting with Jesus depicting the last supper with his disciples is hung in the middle of the main wall.

Tall ceiling with hanging chandelier.

Prayer/gathering room


Framed picture of 15th century of the birth of Saint Benedetto and the blessed monastery.


The only window to the outside world.

Treasure from the monastery on display.


Angel's Staircase

 The monumental Angel's stairway, “scalinata degli angeli”, which brings to the main entrance of the church.

 The Saint Benedetto Church also belongs to the Monastery.


The famous Angel's Staircase is a marble entrance stair decorated with statues of angels.


The Angel's stairway is located between the main building's door on the street (right behind  and the church's wooden entrance door.


The entrance is really impressive and grandiose.


Close look at the statues.


Entering the church via two arched door decorated with golden cherubs.

San Benedetto is dedicated to Saint Benedict of Nursia, it was built in 1334, then it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693.  The church and the monastery were rebuilt between 1708 and 1763

The interior with a single nave is home to frescoes by Sebastiano Lo Monaco, Giovanni Tuccari and Matteo Desiderato.


 View of the main altar.

The vault and semi-dome were painted Giovanni Tuccari with scene of the life of Saint Benedict and six Allegories surrounding the Triumph of Saint Benedict.


Saint Benedict is represented in his traditional iconography in a festive and cheerful scenario.


Perpetual altar which is the table in a Christian church at which the bread and wine are consecrated in communion services.


The church was amazingly frescoed just in three years, from 1726 to 1729, by a single painter named Giovanni Tuccari. Because of his skilled rapidity, he was defined as the lightening of painting.

The interior is rich in details.


The altar entirely made with a local stone and preciously inlayed in pure gold and silver.

Amazing frescos above the altar.


Gorgeous paintings hanging on the walls.

Apse fresco



 The nun's choir created circa 1750, which was designed in such a way that the nuns' voices could be heard during services, but the nuns themselves were still quite separate from and unseen by the less spiritual world outside.

The choir is a special elevated place where people can still listen to the harmonious choir of the nuns of seclusion. 


This is really beautiful!

We are now leaving the church, this is the exit/entrance door with gold inlay.


Close look at the exit door leading to the Angel's stair case.

That's all the time we had in Catania!  Our plane to Pairs is departing in a few hours, giving us just enough time to go back to the apartment and get ready to go to the airport.

We had a great trip, food was great, I think we all agreed that we had to best pasta in Sicily!  All the cities we visited have something special and we discovered a lot of things.   The highlight of our trip is Agrigento (It was much better than anticipated), and we also like Taormina and Cefalu, a quaint town by the ocean.


Next..Dinner at Afaria & Breakfast




Our house


Photo Gallery

 Mon  petit coin